Saturday, November 2, 2013

My First Real College Football Saturday of the Year!

One of my favorite things about fall is college football. Growing up I didn't care, at all. Heck I don't even think I realized that college football was anything significant. That all changed when I went to the University of Miami. Going to a big football school wasn't something I even thought about when picking a school, but I can't imagine what it would have been like to have gone to a school where athletics weren't so central and exciting!

Miss these two...Throwing up the U at our last game Senior year <3
So far this year, I haven't been able to watch much college football because my Saturdays have been busy with various activities. Don't fret, I made sure to at least watch the Hurricanes every week. 

But this morning, I woke up nice and early and immediately turned on college Gameday on ESPN. They were live from Tallahassee (aka Talla-nasty in the eyes of a cane) for the Canes vs. Noles game this evening. This is by far the biggest game of the year for both teams and although we are big underdogs, it's still to be an emotional and exciting game!

I planned to do a nice long run this morning, at least as long as my hip would let me. But I got out there and my heart and body wasn't in it, so I came back instead of pushing my leg through what would have been a waste of a run. I also realized I haven't had a rest day in 2 weeks...oops! At the time of composition, I still have not run today, but I'm starting to feel more motivated, so we shall see. *Editor's note - I ended up running, but only 7 miles. By the time I went it was 70+ degrees (much warmer than I'm used to) and the pancakes weren't sitting well.*

Not running meant making a yummy breakfast to satisfy my rumbling tummy. I turned to google and found a recipe for Whole Wheat Vanilla Protein Pancakes that looked worthy of trying. I ended up modifying the recipe slightly as I was cooking them, adding cinnamon and adding baking powder (as I realized the original recipe didn't call for any!) Overall they came out really well considering they are healthy and not sugar and fat laden. I will post the recipe later today! 

The rest of the day will be dedicated to watching college football. As I write this, BC just upset Virginia Tech. I can tell this is going to be an exciting day in college football! I might take myself out for a long run in a little bit (or only 7 miles...blah!), or I'll just be lazy and watch football until the Canes game this evening! I also want to make something yummy for dinner as I watch the game. If I come up with something blog worthy, you can be sure I'll share it tomorrow. 

Happy Saturday! I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Any other college football fans out there?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five (Things I'm Grateful For) on Friday

November is here!

It's the month of giving thanks for the many amazing things in our lives (although we shouldn't need a specific month to be thankful and grateful). Cori at Olive to Run has created a 28 day Count Your Blessings challenge, during which you write down one thing that you are grateful for. I have never done anything like this before. I admittedly am one who reflects too much on the negative and not enough on the positive. So it's definitely time for a change!

I am going to link up with Darci and use my Five on Friday post to jump start the count your blessings challenge and talk about 5 things that I am grateful for this week!

1) Nature's Beauty. This week I have been able to run almost every day, thanks to my hip finally starting to heal! As a result, I have been able to watch the sunrise almost every morning! It's so much more enjoyable to enjoy the sunrise while out running than having to view it through the windows of the gym. Being outside in the cool, crisp fall morning air is so calming. Being outside in the middle of one of mother natures lesser appreciated miracles is a great way to start off the day and just one more reason why I love running so much!

Sunrise during Thursday morning's run

2) Starbucks Holiday Drinks and Cups. I know this one is kind of lame, but the best part of my day is my Starbucks latte. When I walked in to my local SBucks today, I noticed everyone was holding the red holiday cups and the chalkboards were advertising the holiday drinks! I marched right up, asked the barista if this was real life and ordered my first nonfat, no whip gingerbread latte of the season. There is nothing more comforting than a holiday latte in a holiday cup.

3) My Kitty! - I am realizing that this is the first appearance that Sasquatch is making on my blog, what is wrong with me! This guy is the best friend any girl could ask for. He is always there for me, as long as I give him his wet food, dry food and treats. Over the last few weeks, he has been attached to my side (or my legs). I personally think that it has nothing to do with the cooler temperatures (and his wanting to suck body heat) and that he has kitty esp and knows how difficult the last few weeks have been. Denial? I think not!

Chilling with his momma
(or making my legs go to sleep, boy is 20 pounds)
4) My super thoughtful Momma

Momma and Me before my first Marathon!
 Earlier this week she sent me this adorable Halloween flower arrangement.

Yes, that puppy is 100% made out of flowers and no, it's not a stuffed animal. She really knows how to cheer me up, I mean after all she is my mom! And I am also secretly grateful that she sent me something I couldn't devour in 39 seconds (aka a huge box of Halloween candy- thanks for looking out mom!)

5) This Sweet Man

He sends me the sweetest texts sometimes :)

Happy Friday and I hope you all have a great weekend!

What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Building Back Up!

On Monday, my PT gave me the green light to run the Turkey Trot Half Marathon on November 23rd. He even asked me what my plans were for training and suggested that I don't taper and just ramp it up until race day (minus any speed work). This is pretty much the best news I've heard in WEEKS!

So of course I immediately pulled out my go to half marathon training plan, and began to edit and shift things around to accommodate my "ramp up" needs. It also just so happens that apparently November is "Pile on the Miles" month according to Monica at Run, Eat, Repeat. For this challenge, the goal is to run or walk a whole heck of a lot of miles to avoid the oh so dread holiday weight gain. So essentially, this means you pledge to run or walk as much as you can so that you can eat even more, right? I am so in!


I haven't quite decided on the total miles I want to pledge because I want to include both running and walking. I really love taking long walks. It's a great way to escape and clear my mind for an hour or so. Plus, its really good for you, see?!

But with regards to the half marathon training, this is what I've got so far. (Note: Some runs may be replaced with cardio sessions at the gym, either spinning or the ARC trainer, depending on how my hip flexor holds up).

I will also continue to incorporate as much leg, arms and core strengthening as I can. During my marathon training, I became really bad about strength training. It probably was a large factor in my recent injury, as strength training is one of the best ways to AVOID injury. So from now on, I promise to be good and do my squats and crunches!

I can't wait to be on a training plan again and to have some structure to my running and life in general!

How do you feel about walks?

Tell me something good that has happened in your life this week!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Treat Yourself Tuesday: New Clothes, Books and Good Friends

I am back linking up with Becky for another Treat Yourself Tuesday post. If you're interested in linking up, check out the genius idea here.

New Clothes: So over the last couple of months, I seem to have lost a bit of weight, to the point where most of my clothes just look ridiculous. It's hard to dress semi-professionally when your clothes are 1-2 sizes too big. So I took myself to Gap this weekend to get a few things to get me through this possibly temporary weight loss. (I don't want to jinx it by going crazy buying a new wardrobe).

After multiple trips in and out of the dressing room for different sizes (shopping without my shopping partner a.k.a my momma is not so fun), I walked out with these crops and a sweater.

Gap was having a sale online so I purchased a few more things online after figuring out my new sizes. I am loving their slim cropped pants and now have them in like 4 different prints/colors. Perfect for the fall weather in California!

Books: I have been trying to get myself to do some more reading for fun lately. I recently finished "Chicken Soup for the Runners Soul." I highly recommend it to any runner, or anyone looking for a great motivator to get active, or just anyone in general! It is full of 101 stories of people of all shapes and sizes persevering to push their bodies beyond what they ever thought was possible. Its also very humbling to read about so many different people triumphing over so many adversities.

Good Friends: Yesterday after our stats class, my friend Megan and I went out to dinner at a super yummy local italian place. We had dinner (obvi, cause that's what you do when you go out to dinner), but we also talked for a really really long time. Then of course, we proceeded to get froyo :) We both admitted that the only reason we went to class that day was because of our dinner plans. This may be necessary to repeat every Monday in order to get myself to go to class every week. It was so nice to talk to, vent to and gossip with someone who truly understands me and vice versa. Plus she is also one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and an awesome blogger. (Insert shameless plug for a friend's blog - no seriously, go check her out!)

Have you read any good books lately?

Splurged on any new clothes? Or non-clothes splurges?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ok, Pity Party Over


I'm back!

It's been one week since I had to miss the nike Womens Marathon due to a hip flexor injury and 10 days since my last post. I have been taking this injury really really hard. I'm still able to cross train and run a couple of times a week, but it's just not the same. I had this great plan to build up speed and more endurance before jumping into my next marathon training in what is now 5 weeks. I don't deal with change well, so my plans getting thrown off has sent me into a tail spin. 

Not running and coping with an injury has also brought out some other emotions that I was ignoring and suppressing by just running a lot. But now they have no place to hide so I'm having to face them head on. And let's just say it hasn't been easy. My motivation to blog, to read blogs or do much of anything has been very very low. I've been doing the minimum to get by, but that's about it. It has been a bit refreshing and probably beneficial because it hasn't allowed for suppression of all of the emotions I've been fighting back. It's made me face a lot of difficulties and learn to work through them.

Another barrier to my blogging is that without running I didn't know what to talk about (but I also didn't want subject my small group of readers to constant negativity). To be honest, I don't think I ever really found my voice or place in the blogging world. I wanted to create a running blog that also includes my adventures in the kitchen. However, I haven't been running a lot (due to marathon taper and the post-marathon injury), or even cooking much since I started. Its kind of hard to blog about things you aren't doing. 

But I don't want to let that to stand in my way anymore. I still hope to make the majority of my blog about running and baking and cooking, but instead of feeling sorry for myself and shutting down, I want to use this time as an opportunity to explore more about myself and share that on the blog.

So, here's to fighting back, overcoming emotional funks/ruts, and self discovery! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Coping with an Injury

When you begin to realize that something isn't quite right while you're running, what do you do?

At first you deny, deny, deny! Or at least, that's what I do. "That's just a normal twinge, it'll go away as soon as I loosen up some more." "Everything hurts at some point, no need to be concerned yet." "So I have to modify my stride a little bit, that never killed anyone." "Once I get to mile 3 this sharp pain will start to dull, I just have to push through until it gives in to my will power." These are all thoughts that crossed through my mind last week as I pushed through a strange pain in my upper left quad.

Eventually, I couldn't even walk without pain and entered a state of acceptance that something was actually wrong. I began to frantically google what it could possibly be and what to do about it, and also what cross-training was acceptable (after of course looking into how bad it would actually be to continue to run. Maybe acceptance isn't the right term, desperation seems more appropriate). I eliminated a femoral stress fracture and limited to some sort of hip flexor strain. But how bad the damage was, only a doctor could tell me. So I continued to run - definitely not acceptance. It wasn't until after seeing a PT did I begin to accept it and stop running.

In the mean time, I was flooded with a series of emotions and thoughts. I'm not sure that I can even separate them all into distinct episodes. It has been a mix of despair, anxiety, depression, panic and anger all rolled into one hot mess. The most distinct is anxiety and depression. These feelings seems to not be limited to running related thoughts. My entire life seems to be out of control. And while I have moved on to the next stages, the anxiety hasn't seemed to lessen in intensity.

Anyways, why has it seemed like my whole life had come crashing down? I mean it's just running. But its more than just running, it's a huge part of who I am, a part that I really love. Yes there is more to me and my life than just running, like grad student, friend, daughter, girlfriend, etc. And for most people, this is true and enough to get them through an injury. But for me, I am beginning to realize that I am a runner who is also a grad student, a friend, a daughter and a girlfriend. Being an athlete has always been a central component of my identity and despite what some people think, there is nothing wrong with admitting that something like running can hold such a central place in one's life.


Once I navigated this identity crisis, I began to fight back. I tapped my inner athlete to focus on my physical therapy exercises, strengthening my core and arms, as well as any sort of cardio cross training my leg can handle.  My new found determination has me hopeful that I will be back to new in no time. Maybe by Sunday for Nike Women's? (The decision on this will come tomorrow, when I need to cancel the hotel if we are going to get out of the reservation penalty free).

Google "coping with a running injury," and you'll get various different versions of the mental coping stages one goes through. For me, it has been:

  1. Denial 
  2. Desperation
  3. Acceptance
  4. Depression/Anxiety
  5. Identity Crisis
  6. Fighting back/Determination

What sort of mental process do you go through when faced with adversity? 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Workout Wednesday: Overcoming a Hip Flexor Strain Day 1

As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently dealing with a hip flexor injury. This means no running for right now (but maybe Sunday for Nike Women's. I paid $150 for that race, I'm going to do everything I can to make it to finish to get that necklace!). It does mean lots of cross-training and light stretching and strengthening.

Yesterday morning I went to the gym to see what I could do that wouldn't hurt my hip. The conclusion was definitely biking was not painful and maybe the ARC trainer. I should mention that I am under the supervision of a physical therapist, so I'm not just flying in the dark here.

I intended on trying out sunrise cycle this morning, but woke up a bit stiff and wasn't confident that my hip could handle all of the fancy maneuvers involved with cycle classes. I'm guessing that if running on roads is off limits, then "running" on a spin bike is probably frowned upon as well.

So I hopped on a stationary bike and set out to do 60 minutes of rolling hills. Unfortunately, after 43 minutes, I accidentally (maybe) hit the stop button and lost the entire workout. If I'm being honest I was so thrilled. My runner bum was so SORE from the bike seat. Yes, I'm a wimp. So I "cooled down" for 7 minutes and then hopped on the ARC trainer. Because I was experiencing no sharp pain while pedaling (?) away on the ARC trainer, I clocked a solid 30 minutes and then called it a day. Pedaling around on cardio machines like a lab rat is an awful replacement for running outside, but I suppose its better than nothing.

I was also given some stretching and strengthening exercises to do from my PT. Fortunately, squats and lunges don't hurt and I was given the green light to do as many as I want! This is great news because these are my favorite (and really efficient) running related (and in general) leg strengthening exercises. So I did 3 sets of 20 squats and 3 sets of 20 lunges per leg.

The other exercises prescribed by my PT include:

  • Single knee to chest stretches - laying on your back pull your knee in towards your chest, assisted by your hands
  • Standing hip flexor stretch on a chair - Standing in front of a chair, put on foot on the seat of a chair and lean in until your knee makes a 90 degree angle. You should feel a stretch in the hip flexor of the leg still on the ground.
    Source - Yep, just like this.
Or more practical, I suppose.
  • Hip External Rotation with Bent Knee in Supine - Basically a butterfly stretch but you're laying on your back instead of sitting on your bottom. 

  • Jane Fonda Leg Lifts!

Each stretch is held for a couple of seconds, released and repeated for a total of 20 reps.

I'm hoping that these stretches will help improve my range of motion. I will definitely continue to do these once I get back to running. This injury has really taught me the importance of focusing on stretching all of the muscles in my legs, and not just stretching my quads and calves. ALL of the leg muscles are important! So love your legs everyone!

What are some of your favorite stretches?

Anyone else love PT as much as I do (not sarcasm)?